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Dependency and Neglect

Department of Human Services is Investigating Child Abuse. Now What?

What is DHS?

The Department of Human Services (DHS) was set up by state law to help families keep their children safe, and to protect children from abuse and neglect. The Hotline receives phone calls and reports about suspected harm to children from community members such as doctors, police, neighbors, teachers, family members and strangers. For each report, DHS is required to do a screening or assessment of the report and to gather as much information as needed. DHS will act when there is evidence that a child is unsafe or at risk of harm.

The Investigation

Child abuse and neglect are serious matters. If an investigation shows that your child has been abused or neglected, DHS has a legal responsibility to provide protection for your child.  DHS may ask you to take actions voluntarily or they may ask a Court to take custody of your child(ren).

D&N Case

This involvement with DHS will bring about what is called a Dependency & Neglect (D&N) case. D&N cases are ones of abuse or neglect of children or youth in conflict. Unlike a criminal case, parents involved in a D&N case are not prosecuted for a crime. A D&N case is like a civil case that does not involve the criminal prosecution of parents.

Legal Representation

You should have legal representation to assist in regaining custody of your children.  The Court may appoint you a lawyer if you qualify by income.  Contact our office and get the legal representation you need to assist your family.


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